March 25, 2015

Synchronous versus Asynchronous learning events

The Spark:

What I have learnt from this session combined with my experience:
This debate is part of the #HumanMOOC and thinking about humanising online interactions. 

There are certainly reasons why you would choose one method of interaction over another. I think the most telling part of the debate is at the end when both Maha (for async) and Peggy (for sync) can "state their position" and there is no definite answer. Peggy had to say "I agree with what Maha has said". 
Synchronous connections can enhance the learning whereas asynchronous methods may reach more people. 
Depending on your student cohort and understanding your students is critical to ensure the best learning experience (stating the obvious). However this is not always possible in large enrolment units or in the case of MOOCs. Good points about second language issues are also raised by Maha...where students may prefer async methods of communicating.

Even from watching this video I feel a bit more connected to the three speakers for a couple of reasons:
a) I have seen Whitney before in a Google Hangout (GHO) so she is now "familiar"
b) I have connected with Maha on Twitter so I'm more interested and atuned to what she says
c) I can see these three people in their chosen environment (mesmerising stripes!!!) which makes it easier for me to remember the different perspectives presented verbally.

This information could have been presented much more formally or even in a series of readings but this conversation method of communication is much more personable. My own filters of learning will pick up parts of the conversation and I can choose to follow that up with further reading or research. 

One thing that I do miss from this format is the ability to chat with other participants. I know that Twitter can be used as a backchannel and I usually have that open at the same time but having a chat area within the Hangout forum allows for more immediate interaction. I could then follow up this content with other students much more easily after the session.

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